No one wakes up some morning and thinks he or she will become a REALTOR® next week. There’s a 60-hour course and some cost and time involved, a final exam and a state exam before looking for a broker to take you into their firm. Networking can be an extensive part of getting established, and word-of-mouth accounts from many a client, whether buyer or seller.
“I have around 4,000 contacts in my phone,” says Darin Greear, long time local real estate professional with Long & Foster. “I get calls every day for contractors, lawn care, movers, roofers, dentists and so on. When I close on a property, it’s never the end of the relationship, especially recent home buyers who are new to the New River Valley. I send out lots of handwritten cards, and we stay connected. Most of my clients now come from word-of-mouth referrals.”
Real estate agents offer experience, knowledge and expertise that’s invaluable to both a buyer and a seller in a marketplace which involves usually the largest investment of someone’s lifetime. Documentation alone is worth a REALTOR®’s commission as errors, omissions and confusing terms can cost thousands of dollars to the unaware. Home inspections, financing approaches, escrow, timing, privacy concerns and fiduciary responsibility to the client are simply a few areas where real estate professionals bring home their worth in spades.
“We work with buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants through the sales or leasing process of commercial properties, such as office space, retail space, medical space, warehouse/industrial space and land. We serve as advisors and advocates for every client throughout the entire transaction process,” states Ginny Richards of Price Richards Commercial. The business serves all of southwest Virginia and is expert in negotiating the prices, rates, terms and conditions for clients. “We highly value helping others with their business goals and aspirations.”
Back on the home front, residential agents for sellers have experience with suggested home renovations prior to listing a property and connections with home inspectors, contractors, photographers, staging experts, appraisers, painters, lawyers, flooring folks and many others. They can generate a list of comparable homes which have sold and advise on asking price, closing costs, filing fees, escrow, etc.
Many folks are uncomfortable negotiating – for anything, thinking the other party will think them cheap, offensive, unable to afford a property or something else. Real estate agents are well-known for superior negotiating skills and knowing where and how to bargain for what. This is true not only in the residential market, but for commercial property as well. “We negotiate for a living,” Greear says, “and we have vast experience in market analysis. I have clients tell me what they want in a sale price, and I often explain they can get more. It surprises them pleasantly. My job is to get the best price for either the buyer or the seller, and that almost always involves strategic negotiation.”
For buyers, the REALTOR® can spend beaucoup time learning about the lifestyles, wishes, hopes, dreams and financial position of someone relocating to the New River Valley. They can be a valuable tour guide and insider resource on schools, shopping, medical facilities, parks and bike trails and coffee shops.
“Especially with landlord/seller representation, we offer a thorough understanding of market conditions and exclusive data on comparable properties to secure the highest and best rates and terms,” Richards explains. “This knowledge proves very useful to educate our client entrepreneurs and business owners or managers on property values. We have considerable insight on what is available on (and off) the market.”
From advertising and marketing to open houses, showing, copious paperwork and trekking around subdivisions, back roads and town streets, the professional REALTOR® can be your new best friend when you are ready to sell or ready to buy. Homeownership is not for the faint of heart, and getting connected to an experienced real estate agent at the outset of the journey to sell or to buy can be the first smart move.
Text by Joanne M. Anderson